What about historical sites of Muzaffargarh

Kashfi Multani, a senior poet from Multan, accused the Chenab for devastating the city and district of Muzaffargarh which was founded by Nawab Muzaffar Khan, son of Shuja Khan, the ruler of Multan and they all were appointed by Ahmad Shah Abdali or Durrani. What Kashfi thinks the discredit of Chenab has now been earned by Sindh or Indus which has destroyed the whole of the district and adjoining districts located in the Doaba of Indus and Chenab;

This district has produced many leading politicians like Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, Nawab Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani, Sardar Abdul Hameed Dasti, Malik Ghulam Mustafa Khar and his brothers and neice Hina, Sardar Jatoi, the minister for defence production, and MNAs and MPAs from the Qureshi family. But it is said during the current terrible floods when the whole district almost submerged none of the parliamentary representatives was seen around the marooned poor population of farmers and peasants and tenants.

In the 2008 elections, the result earned the title of “Larkana of the Punjab” the title affixed with Sheikhupura district for many years. This was the district where Hari or Khadarposh Masud (an ICS officer) was last time appointed as deputy commissioner and then throughout his career he was not given such executive post. He was debarred from such posts because the feudals of Muzaffargarh had jointly demanded his removal as he was considered a rebel rouser among the Haris or tenants against the big landholders.

Earlier he had earned a life-long condemnation from Sindh waderas for his famous or notorious Hari report. He was condemned in writing even by Sindhi intellectuals like GM Shah and Hameeda Khuro. In the most trying days of the present floods, people like Masud were needed for Muzaffargarh. But, incidentally, there were no such people true to their salt who could save the Mazar and museum of Khwaja Farid in Kot Mitthan.

It is not strange that many departments are now busy in estimating the damages done by the flash floods to their concern subjects but neither the Academy of Letters nor the other cultural, federal and provincial institutes, including the archaeology department have shown any concern abut the cultural damages in south Punjab, particularly the archaeological sites of Muzaffargarh district, which has many sites always needed to be preserved.

Even the city of Muzaffargarh had a fort constructed by Muzaffar Khan which was vulgarized much before. Some of the details were collected by Prof Sajjad Haidar Parvaiz for his book in Punjabi/Seraiki, Zilla Muzaffargarh”. This job was assigned to him by the Punjabi Adabi Board, Lahore. In the book about twenty pages have been given to the narration (very brief) of the old sites with 8-pages of photographs.

There are 10 forts in Muzaffargarh, Khangarh, Mahmood Kot, Ghazanfargarh, Dinpur, Daira Dinpanah, Khan Kot, Seetpur, Chowk Manda, and Shahgarh. The historical mausoleums are Maqbara Tahir Khan and Hujra Bibi Baggi. Important mosques are Shahi Maseet of Seetpur, Baggi Maseet of Daira Dinpanah, Diwanwali Maseet Kot Addu and in the same locality is Kamangaranwali Maseet.

There are three worth-mentioning Hindu places of prayers Shri Sanatan Mandir, Seetpur, Mahabir Mandir Daira Dinpanah and Sudhari Mandir of Sudhari. Hundeera Thattha Gurmani is also of historical importance. Burji Diwan Sawan Mal is located on Jatoi Road and Maarri Tek Chand in which is government High School of Seetpur. There were many spots and ruins enumerated in the report of the Archaeology Department of Punjab. But, neither the Auqaf Department nor the Archaeology Department have come out about the positions of these historical places.

Rangpur Khairra is the place where Heer of Jhang was brought after her forced marriage with Saida Khairra whose sister Sehti, heroine of folk tale Sehti-Murad, helped Heer to go along with Ranjha, now in the guise of Jogi. Another town devastated by the recent floods is Baseera, about 12 miles away from Muzaffargarh in the western desert.

It is said that this settlement was visited by Alexander Yunani’s army. They dug many wells of which one named Khoohi is located on Muzaffargarh-Baseera Road. Mostly populated by Qalandarani tribe its chief Sardar Fateh Khan Qalandarani was awarded vast agricultural lands in Lyallpur district by the British. Qalandarani developed differences with the rulers and consequently his property was confiscated and Fateh Khan came back and settled in Mahmood Kot area. One of the relatives of Qalandarani, Sardar Husain Khan, had collected thousands of rare books, including a manuscript of Holy Quran calligraphed by Emperor Aurangzeb, and many original papers of legal cases contested by Allama Iqbal. Nobody knows the fate of such a historical library.

On the bank of the Indus is a town by name of Keenjhar alias Shah Jamal. This was a prosperous place founded by Nawab Ghazi Khan, the first Meerani ruler of DG Khan who favoured a prostitute (Kanjri) and Ghazi founded this settlement in her name. The town was occupied by Nawab of Bahawalpur Bahawal Khan the second and after that it was occupied by the Sikhs and the British successively. The residents of the place were not happy with the name Keenjhar (because it involved a prostitute) therefore its name was officially changed as Shah Jamal, a religious saint buried in the town. Now it is known as Shah Jamal. It was hit by floods. One wonders why the people change an undesired name with the name of a religious respectable personality?

The scene of Muzaffargarh was drawn by a senior poet Abdul Majeed Rahi;

But what sort of Muzaffargarh will look after the flood water recedes?

Source: Dawn